untuk ibu, untuk sri
a dance and installation for my mother, and for nyai pohaci sanghyang asri
concept, direction, performance: imana gunawan
set design: hallie scott
visuals: anissa amalia
music: original composition by yzech tahar
costumes: hallie scott, el nyberg, imana gunawan
lighting: amiya brown
special thanks for the screen frames by doug meier, with concept by jennifer salk and martin jarmick. this work was made possible through University of Washington Dance Program's bst Residency.
all my love and gratitude to my collaborators for their love and labor on this work and everyday. this piece is dedicated to them, to alia, to my mother, and to the womxn and femmes of color in my life.
this page contains a list of texts and multimedia materials referenced in the work premiering in Au Collective's from SEA, May 18-20, 2017 at Washington Hall.
a site-specific iteration of this work, “untuk sri dan samudra” was performed on August 19, 2017 at Au Collective + Friends of the Waterfront’s SO(U)L QTPOC Festival at the Seattle Waterfront Park.
these rituals were based on traditions within the agrarian communities of the Sundanese ethnic group in West Java, Indonesia. given that the Sundanese are the second-largest ethnic group in Indonesia and are spread out throughout West Java, some aspects of the rituals are often combined with other traditions or knowledge forms that have passed through a specific community. the following rituals are combined with new traditions and knowledge forms that have passed through my communities. these rituals are an offering to them. they all involve the presence of an elder, whether by blood or by circumstance.
ritual is often done for an individual prior to a major life event such as birth, puberty, graduation, marriage, anniversaries, death, and/or other forms of initiations.
ingredients & materials:
ritual is done when entering a new space, or as a method of protecting existing spaces or objects.
ingredients & materials:
this ritual is a reimagining of a rite of passage ritual. it is to be passed down through the feminine lineage. this ritual involves an elder and their younger next of kin.
these free-writes were conducted based on writing prompts. the texts, both spoken and sung, are incorporated to the sound score.
When I think of potions I tend to think of witches and healers and the act of harnessing the environment around you either to help or harm others. But potions are just concoctions, makes me think of recipes, remedies, chemistry. There is not much of a difference between a chemist with a PhD than a community healer/alchemist that brews potions to heal. It’s funny and sad how western thought is so selfish to think that they created the world, when in fact the world has already been created before them.
When I think about magic potions I think of grandmothers or great-great grandmothers always having some sort of concoction or salves or something to fix your ailments. I feel like people joke that the ingredients are like love and tenderness or bullshit like that, but maybe it’s true.
Growing up, whenever I lost something, I would ask my mom to recite this specific Islamic prayer (doa) specifically for finding stuff, and then I would find it. It was like a spell. I’ve never seriously thought of actually memorizing that prayer because I’ve always thought that it probably wouldn’t work for me because I don’t believe in it. But it almost felt like the women in my family could bend the forces of nature to their will or something. Like if there was a god, they’d be like “yeah, of course I’ll give this to you.” Proof that femmes are magic.
Magic potions should always contain ginger, turmeric, lemon, cayenne, and honey. It makes you so damn healthy. Then you can add other things, whether that’s a pinch of a fairy’s eyelashes or a dash of grated gold and copper or two spoonfuls of finely threaded silk. You’ll need at least two materials whose property contradict each other because our bodies and spirits are built on contradictions and multiplicities. This potion would be like an all-purpose pick-me-up to find and bring harmony when all there seems to be are cacophony. This happens when you’re trying to balance or juggle or just generally under so much anxiety and stress. I think this potion is the antidote, I’m not sure if there is such a thing as an antidote to the antidote.
When I think of rites of passages I think of ancestry and lineage and what we inherit from those tho come before us. I think of lineage not just in a temporal sense, but also in a temporal-geographical sense (time-space). Like who carved the space we are now filling in this particular space?
But rites of passage seems like a very official thing, a landmark of sorts in the fabric of time. It is used to mark where you’ve gotten to in this lifetime. Like an initiation. It’s a welcoming into a new chapter of life. It seems weird because aren’t we always coming into a new chapter? Any moment could simultaneously be a beginning, an end, a prologue, a jump to a next chapter, or a bookmark folded into the upper corners of the page.
So besides predetermined time-stamps for rites of passage (birth, puberty, nuptials, death, etc), how can we reimagine it?
Is there a way for us to have rites of passage without a significant event? Or is that the point? It signifies some sort of significance. Whenever I think of a rite of passage I would want to participate in, it’d be one where my grandmother or mother would give me brass knuckles that they wrapped from the silks of their own clothing. The brass knuckles could be a shield and a warning to what has come/what is to come, that they better not come around, if ever.
this is a list of textual and multimedia research referenced within the movement, visuals, text, and rituals. most of the primary sources are in Bahasa Indonesia, with several secondary anthropological materials in English. they are purposefully left in their original languages because the culture that this work draws from is not an English-speaking culture.
VIDEOS & MUSIC
TEXTS on dances & rituals
Photos by Hallie Scott, Imana Gunawan, or via Old-Indische.